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Irie’s TPLO Surgery: When Good Knees Go Bad

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If you’ve been on our Facebook or Twitter accounts this week, you know we’ve been busy, busy with Irie’s TPLO surgery due to her torn ACL. As we told you about on Friday, she bolted after a squirrel in our yard, and, either in stopping or turning or both, tore the ACL in her right back leg. We spent Friday at our regular vet’s office getting x-rays and pre-op bloodwork.

On Monday, we headed over to a specialty clinic for their opinion–and they agreed that Irie needed surgery. With her size (67 pounds), the surgeon recommended Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy or TPLO surgery. It involves implanting a metal plate in the knee and leveling the tibial plateau.

Our consultation was at 10am and Irie was in surgery right after lunch that same day. She spent one night at the clinic, the first night she’s ever spent away from home without us so it was tough on all of us, including Tiki. We took Tiki out to lunch on the way home from the clinic and walked her around The Domain, an extremely dog-friendly mall in Austin, which really helped tire her and relieve her anxiety.


We were back at the clinic at 9:30 the next morning for Irie’s release. She walked out on three legs and was so glad to see us! We’ll be back at the clinic in two weeks for removal of the staples:


When we get those removed, we’ll also have a session with a physical therapist to learn techniques to start strengthening Irie’s leg.

For the next two weeks, Irie is on strict rest. Since we work at home, we’re able to just keep her in the living room (no stairs!) with us, on leash so we don’t have to worry about her bolting for the door. She’ll wear a cone for the next two weeks as well. While we have some great soft post-surgery collars, we have to use a rigid collar per our discharge instructions; they were afraid Irie would be able to get through a soft collar. Today John ran to PetSmart and bought a clear Cardinal e-collar so that Irie can have better peripheral vision. She seems to really like this cone, with its padded neck, better than the one she was wearing at discharge.

All in all, she’s resting remarkably comfortably. She goes outside (on leash only) for potty breaks but, starting in about three days, we’ll be able to add five-minute walks, slowly, slowly building up the time of her excursions (but no uphill walking). In all, it’s a 12-week recovery time.

Our travel plans have been adjusted for Irie’s recovery. In two weeks with the removal of the staples and the cone, we hope to start some day trips close to home. We’ll be using a Solvit Deluxe XL Telescoping Ramp to help Irie get up a gradual ramp into the back of the Jeep; we’ll be reporting on that (and how we’re going to train her to use the ramp) in future posts. We’re postponing our summer vacation, a few days at the beach which we had scheduled for early September; hopefully we’ll be able to do that trip in a few months.

For now, though, we’re concentrating on getting our girl well! She’s being such a champ and resting well, just as the doctor ordered. We will keep you posted as we progress through her 12-week recovery!